Skip to Content

An ISC West session from the girls, for the girls

An ISC West session from the girls, for the girls

An ISC West session from the girls, for the girls

LAS VEGAS—The security industry has historically been considered a male-dominated field, but that has certainly changed in recent years.

Although women in security still face professional, as well as personal, challenges as they attempt to achieve a healthy work-life balance, four ladies who have forged successful careers in the security industry will attempt to address these concerns during an ISC West session titled, “What We've Learned Along the Way: Career Advice from the Girls, For the Girls.”

This educational session takes place in the show floor’s Career Zone - making its debut at ISC West this year – on Thursday, March 30, from 2:15-3:15 p.m. PT.

The all-female panelists - Tracy Larson, president of WeSuite; Janet Fenner, president of Defined Marketing; Maureen Carlo, global director of strategic partnerships at Arcules, and Rebecca Bayne, president of Bayne Consulting & Search, Inc. – will offer their shared experiences and advice in helping women best navigate challenges they may be confronted with in their career and finding a work-life balance.

Larson told Security Systems News that the session made its debut at last year’s PSA TEC in Denver, and it “struck a chord.” “It was so nicely received, and I think it’s because everybody is real and sharing things that have meaning. The other thing that is interesting is that it’s not the same. A lot has happened in a year, so the topics are the same, but what we talk about is different.”

She added that the session “caught such fire” that she hosted a similar discussion at last week’s Sonitrol National Dealers Association (SNDA) meeting in San Diego, with panelists sharing their success stories, insights, and perspectives. “It’s great to hear what they share. There are some incredible people out there,” Larson said.

Larson noted that the idea behind this session from the girls, for the girls percolated from “knowing and talking with so many women in the industry, and my recollection on my career of not seeing a lot of women in the industry. Luckily, I met certain people like Sandy Jones, and Sandy has always been an incredible inspiration and cheerleader of the industry. She is also a great example of someone who really was powerful in her ownership of herself, so I always admired that.”

She noted that she noticed along the way that “we were seeing more and more women coming into the industry. I would talk a lot with different people and find out that there was a need to share experiences, and to talk about things that other women might have questions about – how can I handle this, or this happened to me, and I’m looking to advance in a certain way. We just thought by putting together a panel of some of the women I really admired and learned from myself would be a great way to get the discussion opened up.

“From there, it was about picking topics that were relevant and also meaningful. The topics vary, everything from biggest success stories – what really stands out to you as a moment of success, something that turned the tides – to biggest challenges, things that made you act differently, think differently. Those two topics alone just spur a lot of discussion.”

She added that the session will also look at biggest decisions. “Decisions can be anything from things that are happening personally for you that affect your personal life, or vice versa, to staying – should I stay, should I go and why – what is it that is making me have to make this decision and how do I think my way through it – who can I talk to, that kind of thing.

Two other topics that the session will explore, Larson noted, are what really inspires you, what helps you to grow and to learn, and why. “These are things that shape your career, and where you start may be extremely different from where you end up or even where you are today.

In addition, the panelists will talk about what kind of advice they would share with someone else, such as a sister or a brother, a granddaughter or a daughter, a son or co-worker. “It could be anyone,” Larson said. “If you were having to mentor someone, what are some of the things you would find important to share? It really covers the gamut.”

Larson pointed out that it “is amazing to me every time I’ve done this session, the things that come out, how important they are, personal, and I think that’s why people like it. People are sharing very personal perspectives and stories, so there’s no fluff.”

When asked what she hopes attendees will get out of the panel discussion, Larson noted, “The No. 1 thing we hope is that we help other people in the industry to maybe take a step that they were contemplating, or confront a situation, or make a decision, or think differently, or feel confident in the way they’re approaching something.

“We also hope to open up thoughts from others who may not traditionally think that a woman might be in a certain position, and how to help her to get there. The other thing is just to recognize that a lot of the challenges that women have faced over the years are still here. We’ve definitely made a lot of progress, but there are still some things that need to be spoken about because not talking is worse than talking and sharing.”

Larson summed up the session by saying, “It’s been great. We’ve had a lot of women and men in the audience come up to us afterwards and want to continue the discussion, and that’s the payoff for us – that we feel that it’s been meaningful and relevant.”



To comment on this post, please log in to your account or set up an account now.